He used to barge into her apartment to announce some seemingly stupid and frivolous news, like, "Look! Look! I just won a free liter of Coke!" and he'd waggle a bottle cap in front of her peeved face and dance out, always forgetting to close the door behind him.
Two days would pass before she would see him next, sitting on top of the washing machine at the Laundromat, waiting for his clothes. He'd pretend to be meditating, murmuring, "Ohm.... Ohm..." under his breath, his long, colt-like legs folded beneath him, and would completely ignore her until she finished pulling her clothes from the dryer. And then he'd stop ogling at her pile of bras and underwear with half lidded eyes and open them completely to give her a cocky smile, and ask if she was hungry and wanted to go to the diner next door to get some food.
She didn't know how he did it, but surely it wasn't all coincidence that when she would begin her trek to work, he would pull up next to her in his beat up little hatchback, and would escort her to her job. Not all the time he'd do this, but she could count on him during inclement weather. She also was pretty sure he planned it whenever he sprang through her door, inquiring if she needed to go food shopping, because that's what he was going to do, and did she need a ride? After going for groceries with him several times, she knew by his lack of actually buying real food and his explicit timing- the second she'd open her fridge to see there was nothing in it but that lonely box of baking soda- that the trips were all just for her.
Before long, he began inviting himself over, whether it be for dinner or to see if her TV could also get free cable, if he hooked it up just right. "Don't mind me, I just like your couch better," he'd say and continue to doze on the other end of the old, lumpy couch, as she sorted through her bills, check book in lap. She would sit, amazed at his audacity, but amused all the same.
At first, she had tried to evade him, thinking, 'Horny bastard, that pervert's just trying to get into my pants...' and locked her door. It soon became obvious that him harassing her had nothing to do with sexual advances.
After all, nobody else nearly kicks down her door to plead, "They found out I was leeching cable off of the guys downstairs so I can't see it anymore, can I please, please watch on yours? Please! This is a life or death situation!" And upon opening it, she'd nearly gotten barreled to the floor as he leapt over the couch and became supreme ruler of her television for the night.
He was like some stray dog that followed her home one day, except he lived down the hall and had a demeanor of an exuberant puppy. It was apparent though, that he planned on taking over her apartment as well, as she walked through her tiny living space to find traces of him everywhere. Half empty bag of chips which he had brought over when he wandered in earlier, his soft, leather jacket from when he placed it around her shoulders during the short walk from the parking lot to the building, a picture he tacked up haphazardly on the wall himself, of him and her laughing at the bar he dragged her to, to meet friends and to ensure he wouldn't end up puking alone in an alley on the way back. When in the end, it was her that was carried home, back gently rubbed and hair held out of her face as she hugged the porcelain throne and emptied her stomach.
Her friends approved of him because they were full of romantic notions and chick flick movie endings and thought the 'guy down the hall' scenario was not cliched at all, despite the fact that she adamantly kept to the fact that they were just friends. She thought that they never really analyzed his easy, confidant gait and his adorable grins and instead focused more on his charming, just as goofy group of friends. It was his crowd that warned her that he was a "scheming, sly dog, that one." She had laughed and agreed, because who else would follow her up and down the aisles in the grocery store, hinting that she should buy this or that because he would really enjoy it if she made him that pasta dish because it was his favorite.
She liked their 2 a.m. talks, when they and the world around them became quiet and mellow, and they'd sit on her couch and talk about nothing and everything. "I'm sorry," he'd say genuinely, complete with a little smile, "I really shouldn't be keeping you up."
And she'd just shake her head, "No, it's okay, I have crazy insomnia anyway." And he'd grin, say that he also had insomnia, yawn, and start up that inane conversation about sheep and syphilis again. And somehow, they'd get serious, and she would bare her soul to him as she told him about her insecurities and past failures, and he'd poke jokes at her to make her see the lighter side of things. Sometimes, she'd get lucky and he would also get serious and he'd murmur quietly about the little things that meant a lot to him.
He would sometimes surprise her with things; things that he thought she would have a fancy for. It was his way to make up for all the times he used her TV, ate her food, stole her silverware and that one time he accidentally broke the hinges on her door. Because of him, shot glasses with funny feminist slogans on them appeared in her cupboard; cute stuffed animals from those arcade games with the claw (which she was later informed that they were acquired by him sticking his arm through the machine); old books bought off the street for a couple bucks each, which consisted of old, hard covers that just smelled and looked nice and made her little bookshelf look full, or children's books in different languages that had funny titles.
Sometimes he would disappear for days, but to her it felt like forever. She'd impatiently go about with her daily rituals, feeling anxious and unable to sit still while waiting for him to burst through her door. Her insomnia seemed to worsen when he wasn't around for her to unload her worries of the day, and when there was no funny story to chuckle over because he wasn't there to cause some sort of ruckus. She would sit and try to figure out just how he'd become such a constant in her life, and that her day would not be complete without seeing his lanky form.
She would never admit this though, and when he'd come noisily kicking her door open and rolling in like a SWAT team member, she'd roll her eyes, "Damn," she'd sigh, "Thought you were gone for good."
He'd get up with a grin, raid her fridge and settle on his side of the couch. "You'll never get rid of me, HA HA!" he'd boisterously laugh in that evil-villain sort of way. Laughing, she'd playfully swat at his head and berate him for not closing the door, once again.
She realized, during these many months, that she had no idea where he stood exactly in their relationship. She liked where it was now, and was completely comfortable with his presence. And even long spans of silence felt natural, which is a feat in itself.
It was when she started fantasizing about curling up next to his dozing form and feeling his arms twine around her when she realized she wasn't fine with what he thought of him and her, despite the fact that she didn't know what he thought of it. She assumed it was nothing, because though he instigated their friendship, he has done nothing to push it past that stage.
Sometimes though, she'd get her hopes up whenever he became affectionate and would spontaneously grab her by her waist and pretend to push her into the fountain in front of the bank building. He would flirt with her too, usually trying out horrible pick up lines to make her laugh. "He's so horny right now," his friends would laugh with a roll of their eyes, when they all went out once to the movies, and they all watched as he excitedly ran to the arcade games lining the wall and hop onto the motorcycle racing game.
She could never bring herself to approach him, afraid that this was just a quirky friendship to him, and nothing more, and that by disturbing it could make things awkward. She almost had brought it up, many times in fact, but would find her voice stuck in her throat, and the thought of rejection bobbing in her mind. She would look up into his eyes after being accidentally woken up by him as he extracted himself from her couch, and he would gently smile at her, and mess up her hair by ruffling her head. He would leave with a grin, telling her to get some real sleep and would steal away quietly, but always forgetting to close the door behind him.
It was after one night of getting reacquainted with old friends and "painting the town red," as he had archaically named it, and both were still slightly tipsy and exhilarated, when he came into her apartment with her to get a glass of water. She watched him leave, as he swung out of her door, still sipping at her glass of water. Not knowing whether it was because it was the alcohol or because she was still feeling reckless, but she was overwhelmed with a sudden need to know and she ran out of her apartment, still not closing the door behind her, and caught up with him as he was searching for his keys outside his own door.
"Why," she had asked, "do you always forget to close my door?" And suddenly he was laughing, sounding as giddy as she was when she sprinted out of her door. She, however, began to get slightly nervous as he collapsed into a chuckling pile at her feet, and even more so as he got back up, drank the rest of the water in one gulp and placed the cup down in front of his still unopened door.
He looked at her then, holding her eyes as he smiled. "Took you long enough," he said with a triumphant smile on his face, and she gave him a confused look. "I leave it open so it's easier for you to chase after me- a guy can't do all the work around here, you know." He gave her a sloppy, hopeful grin. But, after several moments of silence and she gave no response, his smile began to fade.
She stared at him, until he looked away and began to mumble something and went back to fumbling through his pockets for his keys. At that moment, she couldn't take it anymore, and burst out laughing. The realization swept through her, releasing a feeling of euphoria so she was nearly in tears. "You are a sly dog..." she had finally gasped out, and missed how his eyes lit up, a smile growing wide on his face. Still giggling hysterically, she felt his hands on her hips and was pulled closer as he wrapped his arms around her. But before he could make another move, she took initiative and stood on her toes to loop her arms around his neck, and leaning forward, pressed her lips against his.
A.N.: A completely goofy and gushy thing Iquickly jammed outthat just proves that I am a romantic at heart.I had fun writing it though (yay for long, confusing, run-on sentences!) and I'll admit, there's a lot of awkward sentences there, so please review! Thanks.